Tag Archives: trees

Today! Saturday morning! 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. FREE FRUIT AND VEGGIE GIVE AWAY AT ST. JOHN’S CHURCH …

… food center, TEMPLE STREET. Every Saturday!


Thank you, Stop and Shop, for donating your fruits and veggies to St. John’s church! (Oh, Lord, stay with us!)

The greening of Rosalie’s shack continues, unabated. Boughs bend, heavy with fruit! Petals of many colors curl and unfurl while Lilac naps…(do they make a sound?)




Can you grow strawberries in a fourth-floor, Green-Island apartment?




Rose pays 2, 3 and 4 bucks for her flowers. Her spider and tomato plants were free – gifts from friends. Babies at the time – you see their cousins strewn on Home Depot cement floors … big box store scraps… Don’t you see? They are Uranus looking for Puck and the other moons!


I wish moonlight made my plants grow.






I dig dirt! I dig digging my plants new digs!


The furtive, mistress-up-the-street Sabino, my Italian grandfather. With 10 kids, wife and hound dog. An avid gardener… When building his house in North Worcester, by hand, with his sons, he directed them: not too big!

Sabino wanted most of his land for growing


Empty pots beckon.

I – Rose, named after my Polish grandmother, named after the velvety petaled flower – will drive around Worcester today, in search of the most perfect imperfect rosebud!


– text+pics: Rosalie Tirella

Springtime … new beginnings for Green Hill Park … and humankind?

By Edith Morgan

On March 20th, the calendar said that spring begins in these parts and, after a winter to remember, we watched as the mountains of snow slowly melted down;  again the roads were wide enough for two cars to pass, the pavement showed gray and black and passable, crews were out filling in the cracks and potholes left by the winter.

I live two houses down from Green Hill Park, and for over two weeks I heard the roar of heavy equipment: sawing and chipping and hauling away the wooded cover on the hill, leaving a few skinny trees, with daylight filtering through where before there was dense forest growth.

Muddy ruts and stumps mark the hillside, making the area look like a war zone.

But I have lived near the park long enough to know that Mother Nature is not so easily stopped.

While the habitat of this generation’s wildlife (the voles, skunks, squirrels, coyotes, wild turkeys – myriad other animals, small and large) have lost their homes and their cover, in two or three decades, the devastated hillsides will once again sport trees.

The old meadow on Denmark Street where we picked wild blueberries and strawberries so long ago, which was overrun by trees, is now once again nearly bare. But spring is here, and nature abhors a vacuum and will soon replant itself. Hopefully, the birds and wildlife will return, as they have so many time before, despite human depredations. And so, I am hopeful, and will go out and look for signs of life when the last snow is gone and the mud dries.

This is the season of spring holidays. We celebrate Passover and Easter at this time: both are festivals of new beginnings, celebrating the coming of the new and hopefully better beginnings for humans, at a time when nature is also coming back to life all around us.

Worcester does a big cleanup called Earth Day on Saturday, April 18!

Spring housecleaning is a yearly ritual. Jews clean for Passover, remove leavened foods, change to special dishes and, in a great many ways, remember and celebrate the exodus from slavery in Egypt three millennia ago by recalling the suffering of those days and celebrating the ultimate arrival in the promised land.

Christians celebrate the return of Jesus risen from the grave, and everywhere are seen the symbols of rebirth – the eggs, the flowers, chicks and bunnies for the children, and a spirit of renewal and hope pervades us all.

But as I look around our country, our world, I see too many people still mired in the winter of war, poverty, hatred and fear. Too many are still enslaved by their addictions, their hatreds and their irrationalities. How great it would be if this season of hope and appreciation for what we have could spread like a great contagion and envelop our world. Could the dove of peace have a chance to survive the constant assault of the hawks, eagles and vultures filling our skies?

I wish all our InCity Times readers joyous beginnings at this time! Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all!

They’re back! Asian Long-horned beetle meeting Feb. 5! Be there!

By Edith Morgan

Coming home January 13, I was met by a couple of young people with flyers and clipboard in hand,  who were canvassing my neighborhood to inform all of us “abutters” about an informational meeting at the Green Hill Golf Course Club House at 6 p.m. on February 5.

The meeting is about “the scheduled tree cutting”  due to be performed in our area .

It came from the Massachusetts  ALB Cooperative Eradication Program, 151 West Boylston Drive, Worcester MA 01606 (phone number 508-852-8090).

A paragraph of legal citations from Massachusetts General laws appears to justify the use of “all lawful means of suppressing, controlling and eradicating ALB , including affixing signs to and removing or causing to be removed, and the destruction thereof all Regulated Articles within the affected area  that are, may be, or have potential to be infested or infected by ALB.  The flyer closes with a contact name and number, should we have questions or concerns about the work being done : we can contact Ford Wykoff, DCR Forester, at 508-422-6032.

Stapled to this sheet is a full-page aerial map of the area, with three areas outlined in red , called the “Management Area, Worcester Parcel.”

My home is just two houses away from the westernmost area, running along Denmark Street and Green Hill Park.

Most of us who live on this side of Worcester have already seen over the last few years the devastation the “eradication “ program has wrought on Burncoat Street, Dodge Park,  and elsewhere.

Yes, we have replanted tens of thousands of trees which will in twenty or thirty years replace the great, mature trees that were taken down.

But now the funds for that replacement program are used up, but we face another round of cutting.

Aside from the immediate destruction, which is very obvious,  several things bother me: First, I am always very nervous, to say the least, when any branch of government speaks of ERADICATING anything. As a refugee from Nazi Germany, talk of government eradication programs always perk up my ears. Second, I never got satisfactory answers to my many questions about the program in the  first place: Why did we stop the chemical applications, and was the chemical we used at first the only possible one (there was talk about its possible effect on bees, and its reaching our ground water supply.)

I am sorry to say that I have not had the time to research what has been done in other nations to curb the ALB elsewhere in the world. There have been infestations in China and Europe. Since the beetle was here at least 10 years before it was discovered, what is the great hurry to “eradicate” it immediately? Since in nature there are few species who do not have natural enemies, could control measures include propagating natural enemies?

Has any other nation found a way to isolate, control, or even reverse the effects of this creature?

Or are we doomed to repeat our experience with the Dutch Elms, and merely to wait for the next biological attack on our environment?

At least we have learned one valuable lesson; we are no longer planting “monocultures” – all one kind of tree.

While that may have been cheaper and easier in the short run, it certainly has been very costly in the long run.

Let’s think about that –and attend this February 5 meeting!

From the Worcester Tree Initiative …

Fruit Tree Guards: Keep rodents and deer away!

Even in Worcester rodents and deer can destroy fruit trees.  Fruit tree wood is a tasty treat in the middle of winter.  If your trees are planted close to a wooded area, you may want to install tree guards like the ones used on the top of Newton Hill. To make: Simply cut plastic pipes and wire them closed to prevent girdling of trees.


Worcester Fun Fact

….”According to one map of Worcester in 1776, a huge, old elm grew at the corner of today’s Main and Pleasant Streets – a tree so respected it was left standing as the town developed roads around it; hence, the reason, though the elm is long gone, why Pleasant is slightly offset from Front Street.” – Evelyn Herwitz




Saturday, Jan 24

11:30 am – 1:30 pm in the Saxe Room at the Worcester Public Library, Salem Square


Wednesday, January 21

8 am – 9 am at Ameripride Corporation at 280 Greenwood St.


Saturday, March 14

10:30 am at 27 Oread Place

A holiday message from the Worcester Tree Initiative …

Many thanks to all of our partners and supporters. With your help, we met and exceeded our goals:

30,000 Trees Planted in 5 years!

750 Trees Given Away and Planted!

2 New Urban Orchards Planted!

Youth Employed in Tree Care!

We look forward to continuing our work with you in 2015!

– The Worcester Tree Initiative

From the Worcester Tree Initiative and REC

Adopt a Tree!

The City of Worcester wants to plant trees for you! They have the Private Property Tree Adoption Program which allows you to request that a tree be planted in your yard.


The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation wants to plant trees in your yard for you! To be eligible you must live in the federally delineated ALB quarantine zone which includes all of Worcester, Boylston, West Boylston, Shrewsbury and parts of Holden and Auburn.

Not sure if you live in the quarantine zone?Call their office at (508) 852-8073 and they will check for you.

Their foresters will come to your house to give you an expert recommendation of what to plant based on what you want!

This is an incredible offer!


Regional Environmental Council (REC)

Growing Community Since 1971

Be a Part of a Global Day of Giving and Support REC for #GivingTuesday!

Dear Members and Supporters of REC,

As we prepare to give thanks for all the good things in our lives and dive into the holiday season, please consider giving back this year with a gift to the REC for Giving Tuesday. We have one day each year set aside to give thanks, followed by two for getting deals. Let’s restore the balance with a day for generosity. Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together with a common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Your support of REC this year is an investment in our community that promises record growth in 2015. This spring, your donation will help us:

Grow over 5,000 seedlings for community and school gardens across the city;

Provide affordable and accessible produce across the city through our Mobile and Main South Farmers Markets;

Train and employ 34 young leaders in our YouthGROW program;

And clean our streets through our Annual Earth Day Clean Ups!

But, perhaps more important, is your donation’s long term impact. Seedlings planted this spring will continue to bear fruit throughout next year. The nourishment local produce provides will help a child grow strong and healthy. A young person whose mind has been opened up to ideas of social and environmental justice will go on to become an advocate for change in the world. Residents bonded together over cleaning their shared street will work together to bring resources to their neighborhood.

Plant a seed of change and hope with a gift today and join us as we work to grow a better tomorrow!


Steve Fischer


Order your YouthGrow Thanksgiving pies!

These pies are beautiful, delicious and made with lots of food justice love!

Buy one for Thanksgiving dinner and one to enjoy later on … because they’re that yummy!

Get your Thanksgiving Pie from your favorite food justice organization! 

YOUTHGROW PIES are organic, local apple pies made from scratch!

Pick up or delivery of unbaked apple pies on Monday, November 24.

You bake it fresh for Thanksgiving morning!

All-butter crust or vegan on request for the low price of $20 per pie.

Email youthgrow@recworcester.org to place your order today!

The Blackstone Headwaters Tree Project

EPA Awards $25,000 for Blackstone Headwaters Tree Project  

A Healthy Communities Grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency will go to the Blackstone Headwaters Coalition and partnering organization the Worcester Tree Initiative, for their “Stormwater Benefit of Trees” project.  This project will engage residents of two Worcester neighborhoods to reduce flooding and stormwater impacts to Worcester’s waterways and the Blackstone River.  One hundred trees will be planted, split between the Main South and Quinsigamond Village neighborhoods; education and outreach will be provided on the benefits of trees, water quality information, and the impact of stormwater on water quality.

Other project partners include the Main South Community Development Corporation (MSCDC),  the Quinsigamond Village Community Center (QVCC) and the City of Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks.  

“I’m so pleased that the EPA has recognized this project as a dynamic partnership that will have lasting impacts on environmental justice neighborhoods and on the Blackstone and its headwater tributaries,” said Congressman Jim McGovern.  “Out of 70 submissions, this is one of only 14 community-based projects funded by the grant.  That speaks to the great work being done in Central Massachusetts.”

Following extensive outreach efforts, interested residents will pick from a list of available and recommended trees to plant as either street trees or private trees.  As Worcester is in the Asian Longhorned Beetle quarantine zone, no ALB host species will be included in the available species to be planted list. Recipients of the trees will receive a) one-on-one training on how to plant and care for the tree(s); b) educational  information about how trees help reduce localized flooding and stormwater volume into the storm sewer and thereby help the Blackstone River; c) general information about water quality and the impact of stormwater on water quality; d) an understanding of Worcester’s waterways including the lakes and ponds where they swim, the Blackstone River and its watershed e) benefits that trees bring to an urban neighborhood including shade, reduction of energy costs, stress reduction, reduction of heat island effect; f) other stormwater best management practices such as picking up dog poop, redirecting down spouts, washing vehicles on vegetated areas, etc.

The Blackstone Headwaters Coalition strives to engage citizens, businesses, environmental organizations, and municipal and state officials in the active stewardship of water resources in headwater streams of the Blackstone River.   

In Main South! The Worcester Tree Initiative class on revitalizing neglected trees!

Are you interested in learning about growing your own fruit?

Head Horticulturist at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, Joann Vieira will be giving a training in Main South at 9 Oread Place on fruit tree management.

She will talk about the various problems you need to be careful of when caring for fruit trees and what to do when you see them. She will also talk about and demonstrate the pruning of trees that have been left to grow for a few years and need to be brought back to a manageable size and productive form.

The training will be held on Wednesday August 6th from 11-Noon and will be free to all attendees.


Volunteering In Dodge Park

Have you ever been to Dodge Park on Randolph Road? This large park offers a diverse landscape in its 13 acres. There are beautiful views of wildflowers and wetland habitats. Much of the landscape is undergoing the early stages of natural succession for a forest habitat because the park was found to be infested with Asian Longhorned Beetle and most of the trees in the 13 acres were removed. As part of the reforestation effort an arboretum dedicated to the trees which are not hosts to Asian Longhorned Beetle was planted in the area adjacent to the Dodge Park Rest Home. There is also a large swath of oak and cherry forest in the middle of the park as well as an area for picnics and field games. There are trails throughout the park to take you through this diverse landscape; it’s a great place to get an education about the forest or to just escape the city streets for a while.

Worcester Tree Initiative does maintenance projects in Dodge Park and as I’ve been describing, it’s a large park. We are hard pressed to keep up, never mind make headway on any new projects.

That’s why we need you! We have decided to host a monthly work evening in the park the second Wednesday of every month from 5:30-7:30pm.

Tasks will include trail maintenance, trash pick up, large weed removal, and trail construction. We will have some tools and work gloves but it would be helpful if you could bring some tools as well. In particular another wheel barrow would be an excellent addition to the work.

The specific dates will be:

Wednesday, August 13th;

Wednesday, September 10th; and

Wednesday October 8th

We hope we will see you there!


Preparing trees for winter

By Derek Lirange, the Worcester Tree Initiative

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the City of Worcester has had thousands of new trees planted in the past four years. You may have even had a tree planted in your yard and if you like your new tree there are some things you ought to know before the winter comes.

New trees need water, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. You may think that if the tree in your yard has been around for a year or even half a year, it’s not new anymore; let me assure you, your tree disagrees. Your tree will still be “new” until it has been there for about 3 years, then it will be well established and should be able to take care of itself. Until that time, it is important to keep watering the trees and not just in the summer. Many believe that just because the leaves have fallen from the trees that they no longer need water; au contraire! As long as the ground isn’t frozen yet the roots will still be active and take up water. While you could water the trees into December in a particularly mild year it may be best to make your last soak at the end of October, barring a freak snowstorm of course. This last soak should really ensure that a lot of water gets to the roots, so if possible the best method short of buying special equipment would be to let your hose run at just a trickle a foot from the base of the tree for a couple of hours. If you are especially ambitious you might also change the location of the hose a few times in those couple of hours to try to get all of the roots soaked.

The next most important thing for a new tree is to give it mulch for the winter. Now most of the trees planted by the city have a good ring of mulch around them but it would even behoove you to add a bit more on top and extend the ring to the sides. A depth of about 3 inches is good and as wide as the branches spread. However make sure that no mulch is touching the bark of the tree, leaving about 3 inches of space between the trunk of the tree and the mulch. If the mulch gets piled up against the bark of the tree (which is a common sight) it can rot the bark and harbor insects which will bore their way into the tree. However applied properly the mulch will pose no threat to the tree and will act like a blanket for the roots and soil, regulating the temperature enough that the soil beneath won’t freeze as soon as the rest. This is important to allow the young roots which have been trying to establish themselves in the soil extra time to go dormant in the event of the cold coming on suddenly.

Some would caution you to worry about frost cracks and sun scald, two potential winter injuries caused by the heating and cooling of the bark typically on trees with a southern exposure. This type of injury can be very serious but while it’s not rare it’s also not especially common. If you want to take precaution against this type of injury it is recommended that you buy a commercial tree wrap and apply it in November but remove it in the early spring before the leaves or flowers start coming out to prevent it from constricting the trees growth. An added benefit of this treatment is that it can help to protect the lower part of the tree against rodent damage in the winter when they can tunnel under the snow and nibble on the bark for a meal. This material is available at garden centers but is really only recommended for new trees with southern exposure.

Some may also recommend staking your tree in winter to stabilize it in winter storms. If your tree isn’t already staked don’t bother to do this, trees typically do not need stakes with the exception of areas which receive high wind regularly. Trees are even less likely to need stakes to protect them from winter winds because they have lost their leaves which allows the wind to pass through them more easily. Even snow loads should not pose too much of a threat with the leaves off. Some people recommend tying up the branches with rope like a loosely bound Christmas tree to add support and prevent injury, but this is not necessary for regular snow. Ice storms do pose a threat and tying up the branches may be valuable as protection against a heavy ice storm.

Another thing some people may advise is to fertilize your trees before they go dormant to give them nutrients for the winter. This is also not necessary and could potentially do more harm than good by causing the tree to try to put out new growth late into the season which then gets hit hard by cold weather and dies. Fertilizer is generally not necessary for trees, though a soil test can confirm if there is a nutrient deficiency and give a recommendation for amendments. There are a number of places which will do such a test for a small fee such as the extension center at UMass Amherst, but for the purpose of winter prep there’s no need to even be thinking about it, just follow the rule of not applying fertilizer.

One major New England problem for trees planted along the sidewalk of the street is salt injury from all of the deicing that we do here. When salt sprays onto the foliage of evergreens and gets into the soil it can cause major injury to the foliage because it draws out a lot of the water from the cells in evergreen foliage and roots of all plants causing them to dry out and potentially die. You will only notice this in grass, shrubs and trees in the spring when they start to grow again, their foliage will be brown and stunted. In this case you need to apply extra water frequently to try to force the salt to sink beyond the roots of your vegetation. Unfortunately since the salt is going to get all over the first few feet of most yards there’s not an effective technique for protecting your tree from this kind of damage, only the recovery treatment.

That about wraps it up for this article. There are several things that homeowners can do to be proactive heading into winter and a few things you either don’t need to do or flat out shouldn’t. With all of this information it should be possible for you to take care of your tree and successfully ensure its health going into the spring. We here at Worcester Tree Initiative wish you luck and we hope your trees thrive in the years to come.

Green Island’s Millbury Street gets a much needed make-over

By Maureen Schwab

Millbury Street, the heart of Green Island, is getting a much needed make over that some, but not all, are happy about. The improvements made to Crompton Park last fall however, appear to be making everyone, especially the neighborhood children, happy; the new playground has been a huge success!

Construction on the six million dollar streetscape improvement project, managed by The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, (Mass DOT) began in autumn 2010, and is expected to be completed within the next few months. Improvements along Millbury Street include resurfacing and widening of the sidewalks with upgraded material, instillation of street furniture which will include benches, bike racks and waste receptacles. Handicap crossings will be installed on all corners, as well as water elements representing the Blackstone Canal, signage, plantings, trees, decorative street lighting and a bike path. What you will not see is two way traffic.

It’s been over 50 years since Millbury Street was once a two way street. Those were the days before Interstate 290, multiple car households and long commutes to work. Two way traffic probably worked because there simply were less drivers and less competition for parking spaces. Several Millbury St. businessmen have been promoting a two way traffic pattern for several years because they truly feel that it will promote business on a street that is a mix of business and residence. With the current construction underway, it was felt this would be the right time to make the necessary changes to the sidewalks and street. Residents who are strongly opposed are concerned about the potential loss of parking spaces and the safety hazards two way traffic will create.

The City Council Traffic and Parking Committee voted on April 25 to keep the current one way traffic pattern. There are several important reasons for this decision, first and foremost in my mind; the current improvement project includes a five foot wide bike path which would be eliminated if the street were to be made two ways. In addition, the redesign and construction would mean that the city might have to pay back the federal stimulus money it received to do the project in the first place!

The bike path, which is supposed to be part of the Blackstone River way bike trail, was originally supposed to be located on Quinsigamond Ave, Lamartine St , Francis Mc Grath Blvd. and end at Union Station. The current proposed route takes you down Millbury St. right into Kelley Square then to Union Station. I can’t think of anything more frightening than riding a bicycle through Kelley Square; I can barely make it through the traffic in my car most days!

Mass DOT is in the design phase of Gateway 1, an estimated five million dollar projet for the purpose of reconstructing Quinsigamond Ave. from Brosnihan Square to Southbridge St. The reconstruction is intended to improve access to downtown and provide a more aesthetically pleasing travel corridor. Approximately 1 year ago,. Mass Highway and the WRTA were considering moving operations to Quinsigamongd Ave, no information regarding either projet is currently available. Putting the bike path on Quinsigamong Ave, as originally planned is a safer decision which should still be considered. Keeping the streets that surround Crompton Park as environmentally friendly and compatible with the park design are important quality of life issue residents are entitled to.

While business’ struggle on Millbury Street, the new playground at Crompton Park has plenty of customers. It is wonderful to see children play while attentive parents look on. There are still problems with broken bottles and trash all around the park, but I am hopeful that people who use the park will make an effort to keep the park clean so it remains a good and safe place for children play.
I have noticed an increase number of people who walk with their dogs around the park. In a perfect world, Green Island will have a dog park in the near future. Pet ownership can lead to a happier, healthier life, and Green Island has some wonderful places where one can walk with their dog.

Green Island is a neighborhood populated by people who are for the most part poor and transient. It is important that those of us who live here protect our park, and in doing so, our environmental health.